Anxiety Support
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Scared of sleep

Along with my OCD and GAD, I have suffered from insomnia for over a year...and generally live on a couple of hours sleep. I have previously been prescribed zopiclone for short term use.

But the last few nights I have slept but woken up in the early hours sweating, shaking, and feeling terrified.

All my intrusive thoughts seem to wrap themselves into one big distater - while I'm sleeping, in my dreams. I wake up believing my world has fallen apart, and with thoughts of suicide. I visualise doing this, and dream of the pain and then sense of relief in my mind (Its just in my head, I haven't acted on these thoughts/pictures).

Also, memories of my dreams haunt moments of my days and at times I think they are real.

I'm now scared of sleeping. My bedroom doesn't feel safe. The thought of going to sleep fills me with anxiety and fear, and I feel sick as night approaches....

How can I have a phobia of sleeping? Especially as normally getting to sleep is a rarity, and so feels like a blessing and luxury.

6 Replies

Hi, just to let you know you are not alone with this dreadful thing. I struggle with never ending dreams where I am always packing and rushing to get things done and never can! Always late, always last, and it just never ends. I wake very early in a panic, stomach churning over and over and terrified. I just have to get out of that bed and that room and go downstairs or it intensifies . I am so sorry you feel like this as well xxxxx


Hello Ellabella, I'm sorry to hear that you struggle too. xxxx


Hi ArcticTern,

This may pass naturally if only been the last few nights; dream episodes come and go, usually depending on what else is happening in your life, but it's obviously very disturbing or you wouldn't have posted!

Sometimes there is a chemical origin to dreams, like the diet you are on, or side effects of any medication. You have to be careful with doses and combinations of foods and drugs, see

You say you also suffer from OCD and GAD. Are you getting any counselling or therapy to address underlying issues? I think it would be worth discussing with your GP and asking about talking therapy treatment options in your area, see

Oher things to look at are changing your room around and leaving a window open at night. Consider what you're doing in the day time. Enough exercise/ brain activity? A change of scenery may give you some short term relief. There is a book called 'Restful Sleep', by Deepak Chopra, that I have found very useful in the past.

Good luck



Thank you for your suggestions. - I hope it passes.

I've had some CBT for my anxiety and Ocd last year, and have been referred to pyscology but thats a waiting game.

Windows are not an option - I haven't opened a window in almost two years in my flat due to aviodance linked to my OCD!

Thank you



Waiting for treatments is a problem in many areas, and also why a lot of people resort to self-help, and many do that very successfully. In everyday life so many poeple are managing their anxieties and sleep problems as best they can. This forum is full of stories of people getting on and having good days and bad days, frequently with help from each other or someone close to them. I hope you will be able to post an update in a week or two, if not sooner, to let us know how you're getting on.

The professionals cannot always help, but that's what they're there for. Also many GPs do not provide access to the best therapies at the right time. They are not trained in mental health issues as part of their core training. Sometimes they give up and refer to a specialist psychology unit, when actually solutions are more simple and nearer to hand. For a lot of people changing something in their life, or starting a period of managed change can bring reduced anxiety and better quality to life. Do try to think about the things you would change in your life and then draw up a plan and try to stick to it. Share it with someone, or with others on here if it helps. It's kind of like goal setting in CBT, but you can do that yourself or with some support, and do not necessariy have to wait for an appointment with specialists.

It is hard to advise specifically on here, of course, and you should only reveal what you want to. You haven't said about what you do in the days, which will be important to how you manage your evenings and how you feel when sleep time comes- for example, do you work, or do you have things in the day that you enjoy? Be honest with yourself about what you like doing and find the time to do it! A therapist can also help you change behaviours that are adding to your problems, especially if the picture is a complicated one, as i suspect it is (who has a truly uncomplicated life!?).

One other thing, you haven't said what it is you are avoiding, in regard to having a window open. You may not be able to magic away the thing you are avoiding straight away but just bear in mind that fresh air is important of course and a lack of it can impact the body's rythms and disturb sleep. This may be contributing to the dreams and is another reason not to worry about them too much. Perhaps you could pay some attention to reducing your fear of opening windows in the short term- maybe just during the day to begin with.




Hi Arctic tern , so sorry you have this problem, must be horrible to endure, I have had a fear if going asleep many years ago, it didnt last for long time, it has come back from time to time and I just fight sleep, it may be a fear of ebing out of control as with many of our illnesses we fear losing control, i am a Christian , my faith helps me a lot and I am a voulenteer for E Mail prayer reuqests and I woulde be more than happy to start to pray for you to get better peaceful sleep if you would like me to , God bless you xxxxxxxx


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